A Year Experiment: Saving Money on Very Little Effort

In May of 2010 I started the experiment of seeing what a years worth of trying to save money would be on as little effort as possible. People were inspired by these posts, and I know I’ve gotten a few people to look up coupon codes through them in order to save money.

Some steps I took to save money:

  1. Planned my grocery list around what was on sale at my local grocer
  2. Took advantage of fuel discounts from my grocery store, sometimes getting up to 40 cents a gallon off
  3. A week before I was going shopping for groceries, I’d look up coupons on thecouponclippers.com for things I use regularly and spent $4 on coupons that would gradually save me $50 in the long run.
  4. When I was making a purchase online from different sites, I’d take a moment to google “coupon code for X”, usually it redirects me to retailmenot.com which is my favorite coupon site. But I’d do this for every purchase and it would only take a few seconds. Sometimes I’d find one, sometimes I wouldn’t, but I always looked.
  5. I took advantage of deals at local stores where available, like when I went shopping in March and got 55% off everything I bought.
  6. Occasionally I used my USAA credit card because it had a cash back option and I would pay off my purchases completely at the end of the month. My rebates were well worth it.
  7. Taking advantage of amazon.com’s free shipping feature can save a decent amount of money over the course of a year. Most things I didn’t need immediately so it didn’t matter to me if it took longer to ship. But lets be honest, even their free shipping feature is pretty quick, considering.
  8. I shopped around for cheaper prices on big ticket items, like dad’s compression socks.
  9. I reviewed my cellphone plan last year and found they had changed their pricing plans around to something cheaper, so I switched to the cheaper plan that provided the same stuff

Here is a rundown and the official total for the year:

May 2010 – $286.03
June 2010 – $174.48
July 2010 – $202.02
August 2010 – $387.79
September 2010 – $129.14
October 2010 – $145.24
November 2010 – $53.17
December 2010 – $143.94
January 2011 – $201.89
February 2011 – $92.09
March 2011 – $303.86
April 2011 – $60.72
May 2011 – $181.10

Total Saved in a Year: $2361.47

Not bad for hardly any effort :)

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Money Saved December 2010

  • $40.10 at the grocery store by purchasing what is on sale with my bonus savings card
  • $49.67 at the grocery store by purchasing what is on sale with my bonus savings card
  • $54.17 bonus profit sharing from insurance company.

Total Saved: $143.94

Side note:
Another month with not much shopping beyond groceries. Most holiday shopping was already done.

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Money Saved in June 2010

  • $10 coupon code for godaddy for the purchase of some domains for a project I am working on.
  • $51.03 at the grocery store by purchasing what is on sale with my bonus savings card
  • 50 cents off per gallon of gas through my grocery store, going from $2.69/gallon to $2.19/gallon. Approximately $6.50 in savings.
  • $10 in savings for a fathers day gift by looking up a coupon code online.
  • $52.06 off at the grocery store for a second trip to buy food to coincide with dads gall bladder surgery
  • 20 cents off per gallon of gas through my grocery store, going from $2.69/gallon to $2.49/gallon. Approximately $2.20 in savings.
  • $29.11 off at the grocery store at the end of the month for groceries by buying only what’s on sale and taking advantage of $13.58 worth of coupons from one of my new favorite sites: thecouponclippers.com for a savings total of $42.69 that trip.

Total Saved: $174.48

Over $100 less than last month, but still that’s a good chunk of change. Definitely think this is going to be a monthly post at least for the next year. Much like I did my $0 days last year. Adding up my savings for a year will be interesting.

I think as a challenge next year, I might do a years worth of these posts after I am out of debt, where my total saved is donated to my church the next month. We’ll see how my finances go at that point.

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Amount of money saved for May 2010

For the month of May I made the following savings:

  1. Made May a “no restaurant/no delivery” month, probably saved me about $80 (and that’s a SMALL amount compared to what some people spend on eating out at restaurants or ordering food)
  2. Reviewed my cellphone plan and changed it to a new updated plan which saved me $20/month
  3. Used an online coupon site (retailmenot.com) and saved $19 on a necessary purchase
  4. Took advantage of a “buy one/get one free” deal on vitamins at my grocery store that let me purchase $58.06 worth of vitamins for $29.03, savings of $29.03 lol
  5. Took advantage of discount card for my grocery store and bought things on sale, saved me about $128 this month in groceries
  6. Took advantage of 60 cents/gallon off for gas that was a promotion from my grocery store, saving about $10 on a fill-up

Total Saved: $286.03

What to do with an extra $290? Likely put it towards debt, but there are a lot of things I could find to do with $290! :) Little things really add up.

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I love saving money

I love saving money.

I didn’t used to worry about it so much, but being so hard on myself paying back debt, it’s become a necessity. Not one I was all that thrilled about originally, but once you start seeing the “amounts” of your savings, it starts to become a whole other addiction.

Just now I had to make a necessary purchase that would have cost me about $70. I decided to look up any coupons or promotional codes for this site (I usually use retailmenot.com), and low and behold a coupon that brought my total (with shipping) down to $51. Just a quick search saved me that much money.

I’ve also started paying attention to my grocery store weekly circulars too. My grocery lists are based off of what is on sale (I love taking advantage of 10 for $10 deals), and I try to stick to those sale items. I also started printing out coupons from coupons.com for things I know I can/would use. In addition to that, I have a bonus/discount card for the grocery store that most of them offer these days.

Because of all three of those things, on average I save about $60 a shopping trip, sometimes more.

In addition to that, for every $100 I spend at the grocery store every 2 months or so, I get 10 cents off per gallon of gas. Last month when I was at the grocery store on the last day for that period’s “promotional gas discount”, the woman in the checkout line in front of me asked if I wanted her points cause she wasn’t going to get gas. I said sure, so I let her use my bonus card. With her groceries and my groceries combined with what I had spent lately, I had 60 cents per gallon of gas off that day.

And it’s really not hard finding these discounts. Any time you want to buy something online, just google for a coupon for that website and see if there is anything you can use. Any places you shop regularly such as grocery stores or certain gas stations, see if they have a savings card you can use to save money. If you start tracking these savings, you’ll be amazed at how much you can really save. Yes I know there are some women who can get $200 worth of items for $10, but I don’t know that I have that amount of time to spare. What I do now is pretty good on its own, as well as quick and easy.

Maybe I should start doing monthly posts on savings. Course I don’t shop much so they’d be fairly few in-between, but a yearly total would be interesting to see, you think?

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